Belfast Telegraph

Pressure on teachers to spot mental health issues

By Staff Reporter

Just because a child hasn't attempted suicide doesn't mean they don't need urgent mental health intervention, according to a Northern Ireland teaching union.

Avril Hall Callaghan, General Secretary of the Ulster Teachers' Union, said that cuts to mental health services mean that children who need support can't access it.

However, she said it is being left to teachers to make the decision as to which children receive even an initial assessment, "a responsibility which is leaving teachers open to criticism and abuse from frustrated parents".

"Funds are so stretched now that the diagnostic thresholds for help are becoming impossibly high, to the extent that a child may even be considered at low risk simply because they haven't attempted suicide when in fact it should never even get close to this crisis situation," she said.

"It's pressure like this - on top of burgeoning workloads, endless paperwork and constant assessment - which is also taking its toll on teachers' mental health and threatening to impact on all our children."

Belfast Telegraph

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